Lately I've noticed something new. It's an epidemic that needs to be addressed. Whenever I tell someone my age, (because, apparently, they absolutely MUST know...) I get the response, "Oh. Well, you're not that young. I thought you were younger."
Are people insane? If you're in your 20s, you are very young. If you're in your 30s, you're very young. I don't want to live a life of constantly being told I'm "not young". I don't want to be thought of as "not as young". The reality is, unless you're shutting down your life at 60, you're not old until you say you're old. We all know that if someone dies at 50, everyone will respond to the event,
"(S)he was so young...." I refuse to wait until I die in order to be called young.
There's certainly no shame in being old, but let's call things what they are. If I have the potential to live life and experience the world for 70 or 80 more years, maybe even more, there's no way you will convince me that I have lived for a long time. That is part of the definition of old; living a long time. I've lived over 20 years, but I've only been truly taking in the world and experiencing it at its fullest for the last... oh, maybe 15 years? Maybe 10? I couldn't even experience college until I was 18, I couldn't legally experience a bar until I was 21, I didn't see Europe until I was over 20! There is SO much I haven't done, seen, or tried. Even if I had done two or three times as much as I have done by my age, just due to reality and logistics, the amount I could possibly "live" in the period of time I've been alive is severely limited. My life has barely even started!
When I reach 60, maybe I'll retire. Maybe by then I'll have experienced parenting or sky diving or petting a monkey or receiving a senior discount! There is so much I am not old enough or haven't had the time to do because life hasn't been long enough yet. This is why older people are typically wealthier than younger people. They've have more time to accumulate that money! Not necessarily because they had such an intense education that let to such an intense job that led to such an intense income. Because time builds life and unless you have been freaking out and jamming in every experience humanly possible, there is a heckuva lot you haven't done. Fortunately, you have an equally large amount of time to do those things.
Once again society and media are at their typical hypocritical ways! They tell us age is just a number and that we ought to be youthful and joyful and feel young and beautiful... but then they start dictating what we should have done or be doing or be ready to do at a certain age. I for one am not worried about your or my life markers. I'm not spending my days counting down how much longer I have until I can no longer do certain things or how much longer I have to fulfill a certain expectation. Maybe I won't start using "age-defying gunk"! Or maybe I'll wear my hair long even when I'm 80.
There's no set list of what I should have done by 30 or what I should stop doing before 40 or what I should try after 20. My goals are personal, some are private, but I know I will achieve them, whether it takes me the rest of my life or less time than everyone else. This isn't a race, nor a countdown to death. I'm just enthusiastic about what I will do as I get older. When the time comes, and I know I am old (if that day ever comes), then I will fully embrace it and I will take out my dentures, become racist, tell people how I truly feel about them, and surrender. That day is not coming anytime soon, though, I have many, many years to embrace my youth and all the things I still can and will accomplish.